View Full Version : Film holder light trap repair?

Jay Decker
2-Feb-2011, 21:41
Received a number of Fidelity and Lisco 5x7 film holders with a view camera. The holders are generally in good condition, but are "well used". Several have light leaks around the dark slide light traps.

Can the light traps be refurbished/replaced/repaired?

Is it worth fixing them, or should I just purchase some new, or at least less used, film holders?

Is there any good how information available on fixing film holder light traps?

Brian C. Miller
2-Feb-2011, 23:31
Well, the darkslide light traps are made of felt. The holders can't be disassembled, so the felt can't be replaced. I'm guessing that your holders leak light when the darkslides are completely removed, right? Or do they leak light with the darkslides inserted?

If the holders leak light when the slides are removed, try using them with the slides inserted part-ways. Pull the slide out to where it clears the film area, then make a little notch in the darkslide. As you pull the darkslide out, you'll be able to feel the notch with your fingernail.

If the holders leak light with the slides inserted, then just replace the holder.

Jim Jones
3-Feb-2011, 07:58
Draping the dark cloth over the back of the camera when inserting or removing either film holder or dark slide is good insurance.

Neal Chaves
3-Feb-2011, 18:34
Insert and withdraw the slide in a straight line with the holder. If you have just a corner of the slide in the trap, you'll have a leak. Also watch were the sun is in relation to the film holder and if possible rotate the back of the camera to avoid direct illumination of the light trap.

Doremus Scudder
4-Feb-2011, 03:18
All the above plus a possible way of rejuvenating the felt in the light-trap somewhat.

I have simply taken the filmholder to the sink, soaked them in lukewarm water with a little detergent for an hour or so and then rinsed them, being sure to run fresh water through the light trap. Dry with a towel and run the darkslide gently through the light-trap to kind of "squeegee" out excess water. then, pull the slides and let the holders dry. It takes some time. Once dry, you may have removed some crud from the felt in the light trap and freshened it up a bit. Test the holders by loading them with paper. I would expose them to bright sunlight with the slides in as well as insert them in the camera back and expose the light-trap area to bright sunlight for a couple of minutes with the darkslide pulled. If they pass this test, no worries. If you get a bit of streaking, then you may still be able to use them with the precautions above. Usually the leak comes when the slide is out, so if you always pull and insert the slide under the dark cloth and keep the holder shaded for the entire exposure process, then leaks will be prevented.

Hope this helps,

Doremus Scudder

Jay Decker
4-Feb-2011, 09:07
Thanks for the great ideas!

Light leaks are my bane...


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